The 2018 NFL season can’t come soon enough and when it comes all our redraft fantasy football leagues.
While they are a ways off still, I dove into the fantasy football average draft position data over at fantasy football calculator and took a look to see who I thought was going too high, low or clearly ahead of someone he shouldn’t be.
Below I came up with five things I don’t agree with and break down why it’s wrong.
ADPs are based on PPR league format.
Jerick McKinnon (2.10 RB14) will see his draft stock rise as we get closer to September.
Despite splitting time with Dalvin Cook for four games and Latavius Murray for 16 games last season, McKinnon finished as the RB17. Last season in the 12 games without Dalvin Cook he averaged 15.3 touches and 14.5 fantasy points per game compared to Murray’s 17.9 touches and 12.8 fantasy points per game; showing McKinnon to be the more efficient fantasy running back despite fewer touches. Now as the solo feature back in San Francisco, McKinnon should see a major uptick in his touches and fantasy points.
— PirateLife Football (@PirateLifeFF) June 16, 2018
Last season the duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen combined for 29.2 fantasy points and 16.8 targets per game, the majority of those passes coming from Case Keenum. Compared to the duo of Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin combined for 21.7 fantasy points and 15 targets per game. The 49ers have weaker WRs and a better QB in Jimmy Garoppolo. McKinnon should see more touches this season and I expect him to get around 275 touches (64 catches) for 1,200 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns in 2018, finishing with 238 fantasy points. If he had scored 238 fantasy points last season, McKinnon would of finished the year as the RB8 and I believe he gets drafted as a top 10 running back on average by early August.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (4.08 WR19) should be drafted before Josh Gordon (3.05 WR12).
Over the last four seasons, Gordon has missed 54 out of 64 games because of drug related suspensions. While everyone hopes that Gordon can stay clean, he is one failed drug test away from possibly never playing in the NFL again. Fantasy owners tend to have more success when taking safer players early in their fantasy draft and taking upside shots later on than the other way around. Even with Gordon has been on the field he just 42 catches on 90 targets for 638 yards and one touchdown in his ten games played since 2013; averaging 11.2 fantasy points per game.
Furthermore, Gordon will be playing with the best supporting cast in his life including high target man, Jarvis Landry. Last season the Browns’ wide receiver with the most targets was Ricardo Louis with 61. However, he only caught 44% of them. Despite playing in just five games, Gordon finished fourth on the team with 43 targets but finished second to last among receivers with 20 or more targets with a 42% catch rate. While the Browns’ upgraded quarterback play will help Gordon, there are several other weapons on this offense. David Njoku is coming off a solid rookie where he lead the team with four touchdowns and is now the full time starter. Landry had a career high 112 catches last season despite horrible quarterback play in Miami. Also, Corey Coleman and rookie Antonio Callaway will steal some targets from Gordon. Lastly, Duke Johnson ranked fourth among running backs in targets and catches last season, and just signed a new three year contract with the Browns. I wouldn’t touch Gordon at his current ADP in PPR leagues and would consider trading him in dynasty leagues as there is just too many weapons on that offense and Landry might be the new number one option.
Some players I'd be looking to sell as of now
— Loaded Box Podcast (@loadedbox) June 12, 2018
Last season the Steelers threw the ball 589 times, one of the most in the league. The team traded away Martavis Bryant on draft weekend and let Eli Roger walk as a free agent. Last season, those two combined for 110 targets (6.9 per game) that need to go somewhere else. Antonio Brown averaged 11.6 targets per game last season and has averaged 11.3 per game since 2014. Meanwhile, Le’Veon Bell averaged 7.1 targets per game last season and has averaged 6.8 per game since 2014. Therefore, it is unlikely that many of the available 110 targets go to Brown or Bell. Instead the majority of them will be split between Smith-Schuster and rookie James Washington.
The Steelers have done a good job drafting wide receivers that make an impact as a rookie. Last season Smith-Schuster had 79 targets, Rogers had 66 in 2016, Bryant had 48 in 2014 and Emmanuel Sanders had 50 in 2010. Even if Washington can hit 80 targets this year, that leaves 30 available targets for Smith-Schuster to snatch up. Had Smith-Schuster been targeted 109 last season he would have finished with 80 catches for 1,265 yards, 10 touchdowns and 19 fantasy points per game; ranking as the WR4. I don’t believe Smith-Schuster will finish that high but he easily has top ten upside.
Juju Smith-Schuster of the Steelers has the potential to breakout this season after lighting up the scene last season with 917 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Another season with the Steelers and his upside is tremendous. pic.twitter.com/KPD7DWT2kR
— Fantasy Football Tonight (@FantasyFB2Nite) June 12, 2018
Carlos Hyde (7.03 RB33) is being draft too high; may not even make the final roster.
Last season, Hyde finished as the RB8 in PPR scoring after finish as the RB18 in 2016. In the offseason Hyde left the 49ers and signed with the Browns on a three year/$15.25 million dollar deal. However, the Browns can easily get out of Hyde’s contract after the first year. Hyde was signed prior to the draft where the Browns selected Nick Chubb 35th overall. Also the Browns just signed Duke Johnson to a three year deal worth $15.6 million dollars. Best case scenario for Hyde is he’s the lead back of a running back by committee situation while the worst case is when he gets cut before the season starts.
Hyde had a career year statically across the board last season. Over his first three seasons, Hyde had just 50 catches on 64 targets, while last season he had 59 catches on 88 targets. If you adjust Hyde’s receiving stats from last season to match the averages of his first three seasons, he would have finished the season as the RB22. The reason why that matters is because Johnson is clearly the pass catching running back for the Browns and his new contract confirms that. Furthermore, what are the odds Hyde gets 240 rushing attempts this season with Chubb and Johnson in the fold and all the new weapons in the passing game? Slim to none. The Browns know Hyde is an one year rental and that the duo of Chubb and Johnson is the future at the running back position. For the team to release Hyde at some point this season, even before the season starts, shouldn’t be surprising. For fantasy owners who draft Hyde, you are playing with fire and likely will get burned.
David Njoku (13.06 TE14) should be drafted before Tyler Eifert (12.07 TE13).
While the 2017 season was one to forget for Browns fans, Njoku was a nice bright spot for the team. Njoku was third on the team in catches and yards while first with four touchdowns. While Njoku finished as the TE24 last season, he is expected to be the full time starter this season while Seth DeValve will turn into a rotational player. The Browns dramatically improved the offense around Njoku from last season which should allow him better and more one-on-one match ups.
TE David Njoku is apparently going to be a “full time starter” this year in #cleveland. After a promising rookie season, Njoku could be poised for a “breakout” season a la Charles Clay. #fantasysleepers
— Fantasy Geeks Football (@GeeksFF) May 21, 2018
Four catches for 46 yards and zero touchdowns in two games, that’s what Eifert did last season. Furthermore, outside of Eifert’s breakout season in 2015, he has 36 catches on 55 targets for 477 yards and five touchdowns, while playing in just 11 out of 36 possible games during the other three seasons of his career. Eifert has repeatedly failed to stay healthy and has never played in more than 13 games in a season. Because of his inability to stay on the field, the Bengals have turned more of their offensive game plan focus to Joe Mixon and A.J. Green. Even during his 2015 breakout season, Eifert finished only as the TE6 and had just 52 catches. When picking a tight end that late in the draft, you are looking for the most upside knowing you can stream the position if need be. For me I rather have the second year player on a loaded offense than the injury prone older player.
Philip Rivers (10.10 QB13) and Ben Roethlisberger (11.01 QB15) should be drafted before Matt Ryan (9.11 QB11).
No matter what style of quarterback scoring used, both Rivers and Roethlisberger finished last season as a QB1 while Ryan finished as a QB2. Rivers finished as the QB8, Roethlisberger as the QB10 and Ryan as the QB15. Rivers averaged 2.6 more fantasy points per game than Ryan last season, while Roethlisberger averaged 3.1 more FPPG than Ryan. Over the last five seasons Ryan has finished as a QB1 just twice compared to five times for Roethlisberger and four times for Rivers.
From Weeks 10-16 last season, Ben Roethlisberger was the No. 1 fantasy QB. Current consensus ADP has him coming off the board at QB13 pic.twitter.com/fYb0OW5Jtg
— Jeff Ratcliffe (@JeffRatcliffe) June 18, 2018
Clearly Roethlisberger has the best set of weapons of the three quarterbacks, combined with he is the only one of the three quarterbacks to finish as a QB1 each of the past five years it is really puzzling why he has the lowest ADP of the three. Furthermore, last season River and Roethlisberger both had 28 touchdowns compared to just 20 for Rivers. Lastly, during the 2017 season, Ryan finished last among the three quarterbacks with just four weeks scoring as a QB1 while Roethlisberger had seven such weeks and Rivers led the way with 11 weeks.
— Fantasy Sports News (@fantasysportsso) May 27, 2018
In the end while the quarterback position is very deep in fantasy and it’s part of the reason why two quarterbacks and super FLEX leagues have become more popular lately, clearly Ryan shouldn’t be in the same tier as Roethlisberger and Rivers. For fantasy owners who like more upside in their quarterback, Roethlisberger is their guy, while for fantasy owners who like more consistency and certainty in their quarterback, Rivers is for them.